23 Best Slow Cooker Recipes for Summer
Hearty winter stews and braises aside, summer is actually the perfect time to break out your slow cooker. It keeps your kitchen cool (no standing over a hot stove or heating up the kitchen with your oven). It's hands free so you can enjoy long, fun-filled days outside. And it does all the work of a smoker or grill without hours of tending to the coals, bringing barbecue classics to your table with next to no effort. These recipes might just give your slow cooker a permanent spot on your kitchen counter.
Classic Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
This creamy corn chowder is summer's answer to the hearty stews you'd make in colder months. If you have lots of fresh corn, go ahead and swap it for the frozen kernels here.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
No need to babysit a grill or smoker; your slow cooker does all the work here. Root beer and barbecue sauce infuse pork tenderloin for fork-tender meat that had over 4,000 reviewers cheering.
Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Barbecued ribs on a weeknight? The slow cooker makes it happen. Once cooked through, they're brushed with the sauce and baked for crispy edges and a glossy glaze. "They were falling off the bone delicious!" says reviewer Denise Adams.
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
Barbacoa, or Mexican-style barbecued beef, is traditionally buried in an underground oven and slow roasted overnight. This recipe mimics that method with a slow cooker and a boneless beef chuck roast—no digging required!
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Minestrone
This soup is an easy way to enjoy lots of seasonal produce, including zucchini and green beans. Serve with crusty toasted bread for a light summer meal. "I'm so glad I made a huge batch so I could freeze the rest for later," says user MTRoth.
Colleen's Slow Cooker Jambalaya
This Cajun classic would do New Orleans natives proud, even with the not-so-traditional twist of using the slow cooker. It helps the bold seasonings and smoky andouille sausage infuse the jambalaya and meld together.
Spicy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Inexpensive dried black beans become perfectly tender in this slow cooker soup—a great alternative to the usual stovetop chili. Dial back the spices like some reviewers for a milder soup, or top off the bowl with cooling avocado, rice, or sour cream.
Slow Cooker Carnitas
The taqueria comes to your kitchen with this shredded pork recipe. The slow cooker cuts out the stovetop fry and oven roast, keeping your kitchen cool. Use the meat again and again in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and sandwiches.
Outrageous Warm Chicken Nacho Dip
Over 700 reviewers agree that this dip is outrageously easy (just toss the ingredients in the slow cooker) and outrageously delicious—think queso and seven layer dip in one. Be sure to use sturdy tortilla chips for dipping!
Homestyle Kalua Pork with Cabbage in a Slow Cooker
You might not be at a beach luau in Hawaii this summer, but you can still enjoy this traditional dish at home. Liquid smoke gives the pork butt an over-the-fire flavor as it becomes meltingly tender in the slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers
Think your slow cooker is only for soups and braises? Think again. These whole bell peppers, stuffed with a beef and tomato filling, are another veggie-forward way to take advantage of the slow cooker's low, even heat.
Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
The toppings that go on a taco—salsa, cilantro, and lime—go in the slow cooker for this easy recipe. They infuse boneless, skinless chicken breasts, along with taco seasoning. Keep in the fridge for tacos, enchiladas, and salads.
Stephanie's Freezer Spaghetti Sauce
Creator Stephanie Lane recommends this recipe when you have a surplus of garden tomatoes. The slow cooker concentrates their bright flavor before freezing so you can enjoy a burst of summer flavor any time of year.
Warm Berry Compote
If you're lucky enough to pick and freeze a bunch of berries this summer, this beautiful compote is a great way to use them. It's delicious on its own, and even better dolloped over flaky biscuits or vanilla ice cream.
Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken II
"A wonderful 'fix and forget' recipe. Great served with rice or pasta, or even alone," Carla Joy says.
Easy Slow Cooker Meatballs
"Incredible recipe! I will never make meatballs any other way," home cook Saveur says. "Tender, flavorful, and delicious. Plenty of delicious sauce."
Pozole in a Slow Cooker
"Easy, authentic pozole. Serve with chopped onion, cilantro, shredded cabbage, lime wedges, and corn tortillas or tostadas," Isabel says.
Honey-Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
"It's easy and uses pantry staples. Always a hit with adults and kids. Serve with basmati rice or quinoa and steamed or roasted vegetables," Myrna says.
Slow-Cooker Pepper Steak
"Very tender and flavorful. Serve over rice, egg noodles, or chow mein." - MJWAGNER68
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
"When my friend made this slow cooker version for my family, we were head over heels! I don't think I've had Butter Chicken that I've liked more. It's wonderful to put into the slow cooker in the morning and come home to the warm Indian spice smell. Love it! Serve with basmati rice and warm naan bread." — The Meal Planner
Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore
"Delicious! I was a little hesitant to try this as I lived in Italy for a short time and hold my Italian food to a very high standard. I was very pleased with the turnout. It would be better with homemade pasta sauce instead of using sauce from a jar. But with the added veggies and spices, the sauce was great." — Alison and Bird
Slow Cooker Adobo Chicken with Bok Choy
This simple method works equally well with any stewing or braising meat — duck legs, chicken thighs, pork chops. Serve with steamed rice.
Slow Cooker Texas Smoked Beef Brisket
You don't need to be a pitmaster (or even own a smoker) to make this Texas favorite. Along with a bold spice rub, Worcestershire and liquid smoke amp up bottled barbecue sauce for extra smokiness. "Absolutely delicious!" says user Carl Frodge.